Tourism Declares A Climate Emergency
We focus solely on Mongolia and over the past 15 years we have seen the impact of the climate emergency on this vast country. Annual precipitation has decreased (the (previously reliable) seasonal rainfall pattern has become erratic) but localised severe weather events have increased. There’s also an increase in desertification and a loss of biodiversity. This is combined with Mongolia’s annual mean air temperature increasing by 2.24°C from 1940 to 2015 – triple the global average.
We are aware that tourism is part of the problem and as a business working in tourism we feel we have a responsibility to help combat problems including those created by tourism itself. We already work responsibly on a local level – we’re a registered Mongolian company and social travel enterprise, focusing on creating positive social change in Mongolia. We believe that travel can and should be a positive experience for both the visitor and for the destination country itself – its natural environment, people, culture and traditions. We can provide evidence of our work. However …
Although we believe travel has to be beneficial to all concerned we also understand that it is not currently beneficial to our planet. But we can’t solve this alone. The problem surrounding climate change can only be solved by working together. This is not about cancelling international travel but it is about travelling better – travelling in a more conscious way. As an industry, we need to come together and act to make our sector more sustainable.
That’s why we have signed up to Tourism Declares, an initiative that supports tourism businesses, organisations and individuals in declaring a climate emergency and taking purposeful action to reduce their carbon emissions. As Tourism Declares outlines,
“We believe we have a responsibility, to tell the truth, act now and work together to help turn it around.”
Like all signatories, we have committed to the following five actions:
1 & 2. Develop a ‘Climate Emergency Plan’ which sets out our intentions to reduce carbon emissions over the next decade. Also, share the plan and update on progress each year.
3. Accept current IPCC advice stating the need to cut global carbon emissions to 55% below 2017 levels by 2030 in order to keep the planet within 1.5 degrees of warming. We’ll ensure our ‘Climate Emergency Plan’ represents actions designed to achieve this as a minimum, through delivering transparent, measurable and increasing reductions in the total carbon emissions per customer arising from our operations and the travel services sold by us.
- The cut in our own emissions by 55% is a target. To do this, firstly we need to find a way to accurately measure the full carbon footprint of our products and services. This will include looking at the domestic flights we use within Mongolia (for our team as well as our guests) as well as for international travel to Mongolia (not the easiest country in the world to get to). However, our climate plan needs to be about more than just offsetting flights. We need to look at ways we can make long-term effective reductions within our company.
4. Encourage our partners to make the same declaration; sharing best practice amongst peers; and actively participate in the Tourism Declares community.
5. Advocate for change. We recognise the need for system change across the industry, and call for urgent regulatory action to accelerate the transition towards zero-carbon air travel.
Please consider also declaring at www.tourismdeclares.com, and follow on @tourismdeclares on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin